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Friday, March 24, 2023

Slovakia to send Ukraine 13 MiG-29 jets

by The Kyiv Independent news deskMarch 17, 2023 12:47 pm

Slovakia to send Ukraine 13 MiG-29 jetsMikoyan MIG-29 fighter jets of the Polish Air Force take part in a NATO shielding exercise at the Lask Air Base on Oct.12, 2022, in Lask, Poland. (Omar Marques/Getty Images)

The Slovak government has approved providing Ukraine with 13 MiG-29 fighter jets, Prime Minister Eduard Heger said on March 17. 

This decision makes Slovakia the second NATO member state after Poland to pledge the aircraft to Ukraine.

"Promises must be kept, and when (Ukraine's President Volodymyr) Zelensky asked for more weapons, including fighter jets, I said we'll do our best. Glad others (are) doing the same," Heger wrote on Twitter. "Military aid is key to ensure Ukraine can defend itself and entire Europe against Russia."

In addition to Soviet-era jets, Slovakia will also send "part of the Kub anti-aircraft system," Heger said at a news conference, as cited by Slovak media outlet Aktuality. 

He also emphasized that the MiG-29 fighter jets would serve to protect the Ukrainian sky, not to carry out attacks against the Russian military. 

Slovakia should receive 900 million euros in compensation from allies for the fighter jets it pledged to supply to Ukraine in a joint effort with Warsaw, according to Aktuality. 

The Slovak government's decision comes a day after Polish President Andrzej Duda said his country would hand over the first four MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine within the coming days. 

"The remaining aircraft are being serviced and prepared," Duda added, without mentioning the total number of MiG-29s Poland plans to send to Ukraine. 

Meanwhile, Kyiv's allies, including the U.S., have so far refused to supply modern fighter jets to Ukraine, such as the U.S.-built F-16, in service since the 1970s and operated by over 20 nations.

The Kyiv Independent news desk
The Kyiv Independent news desk

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